Christian Values Extend Beyond Christianity, Revised

Christ shared the Good News throughout the regions of Israel. He shared it with all the people in those regions. His purpose on earth was to share God’s Word and lead them to salvation. He accomplished this through speech and action.

Christ knew conversion was a personal choice. He used a variety of ways to engage non-believers, preaching was one way in which He shared the Good News. The other and perhaps the most obvious was through His actions and deeds. He displayed the Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5. 

As Christians, we need to remember that our actions often speak louder than words. Our actions should reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. In complying with these traits, we share the goodness of God.  People emulate others traits that they are drawn to and want to express in their actions. We see these virtues play out in all religions and, I will go as far as saying, are nurtured by parents, relatives, and role models, some of which may be strangers.

“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭3:8-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We see, hear, and read about people who have a heart to do good.   Most of these stories are never discussed or shared. The person or people inherited the need to help others, be kind and provide change. Christians often feel that we are the only good people, but the truth is there is good and bad in all nationalities and religions.  My point is that demonizing people is not Christ-like, being insular and only attending to the needs of our faith is not Christ-like, wishing harm on other is not Christ-like. Being Christ-like is using His virtues to help others and make our society and the world a better place.

I include this story from the New York Times because Sharon Cohen founded an organization in 1997 to teach young Black and Brown girls who live in Harlem,  we York to learn to ice skate, and amazing things grew out of it. Sharon may or may not be a Christian but exudes Christ’s virtues every day of her life. She stepped up where she saw a need and has made a difference in lives of these girls. I believe their entire families benefited and thus changed the trajectory of the family units.

If we, Christians, step up to the challenges of helping others we too can effect change. Recently several tragic events have occurred in the US from hurricanes, floods, fires and most recently government shutdown. These events nurtured a glimpse of humanity at its best. They caused people to act out of their comfort zone and help others, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or income. The Good Samaritans were people like you and me. Humanitarian needs are a close as our backyards and extend throughout the world.

Story – https://nyti.ms/2REzNtX?smid=nytcore-ios-share
Images – Google Images; collage LAB Photos
Scripture – Bible.com

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my Post. Search this site and you will find other posts expounding on this topic.

God Bless.

Why and How Should We Deny Ourselves

Deny Yourself
SUMMARY:
TO FOLLOW JESUS, WE MUST FIRST DENY/DISAVOW OURSELVES, FROM OURSELVES AND BECOME OBEDIENT DISCIPLES ASSIMILATING CHRIST’S VALUES TO GOVERN OUR LIVES AND EMBRACE THE WILL OF GOD.

Post

Taking up the cross requires full submission to the will of God. Full submission requires denying or disavowing our natural man for our spiritual man. Jesus is commanding us to reject our natural feelings about ourselves. Mark 8:24 is not about possessions as we so often think. Possessions are a byproduct of our natural selves. Our possessions govern who we think we are in the natural. Jesus wants us to deny, disavow, that we are our own, that we own ourselves. Ray Stedman, Authentic Christianity, writes:

“Jesus is saying something very fundamental. It strikes right at the heart of our very existence, because the one thing that we, as human beings, value and covet and protect above anything else is the right to make ultimate decisions for ourselves. We refuse to be under anything or anyone but reserve the right to make the final decisions of our lives; this is what Jesus is telling us. He is not talking about giving up this or that, but about giving up ourselves.”

1 Corinthians 6:19–20 explains the transference very clearly, if we are going to follow Jesus, we no longer own ourself. He has ultimate rights; He has Lordship of our life. So, we no longer belong to ourself; Jesus will make final decisions when the issues of our lives hang in the balance. This is what Jesus means by “if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself,” we must deny our self-trust, deny our self-sufficiency, deny our feeling so we can handle life by ourselves and run everything to suit ourselves.

Jesus is saying that discipleship requires disavowing ourselves from ourselves and putting him in charge of our lives. It is our pride that keeps us from being dependent upon God. God is calling for us to disavow our human traits and pick up his traits Paul described Galatians 5:16-26 NIV, Freedom in Christ.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

There is only one way to becoming a disciple of Christ, and that is to obey his commands and be completely dependent upon Him for direction. We have to choose to do what Jesus says and not what we think independent of Him. If he instructs us to turn right when we planned to turn left, do so, we never know what lesson lies ahead or what harm you are avoiding. Only Jesus knows the plans for our lives. We are not our own.

“Following Jesus is not a decision for the moment, but a program for a lifetime, to be repeated again and again, whenever we fall into circumstances which make these choices necessary.”

References -BibleHub.com; Biblestudytools.com; Blueletterbible.org.

Note: Much of the context is either quoted or paraphrased from Ray Stedman, The Way of the Cross. Raystedman.org.

Images: Google Images; Discipleship image – Heritage Christian School

 

Thank you for visiting my Young Christian Warriors site and dailyinspiration-lisasthoughts.com.

What Does God Want You To Do?

God is all truth and truth cannot initiate negative actions. God does not create confusion, chaos, or distraction in our lives. However, he does use them to move us forward seeking our destiny. All challenges and victories are accompanied with lessons. Everything in life is a learning opportunity. Do you believe and surrender all of who you are to God, or are you the architect of your own destiny?

Psalm 16_2A chosen life – lived so differently from the rest of the world-will forever hold the truth that apart from God, we have ‘no good thing’ (Psalm 16:2)

A chosen life is a surrendered life, a life that exalts Jesus Christ and follows Him in obedience.

I’ve heard this message in some form for three days now. Yes, it’s apparently personal, but we can all learn from this message.

My Take Away

The Lord told us we would experience good times and bad. Jesus suffered. Job suffered. David suffered. Countless men and women suffered in the Bible. What makes us any different? In each instance, the sufferer literally and figuratively fell to their knees and first asked God why are you doing this to me, or why are you allowing this to happen to me? We are projecting blame. After wallowing in our discomfort, we should reach the point where we change the conversation and ask God, what do you want me to learn from this? God will answer, but not until we fully surrender to Him and reiterate Jesus statement of God,

“Not my will, but your will be done.”
Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42 NIV

Faith

I read on FaceBook of all places – ‘Walking with God and not seeing where He is taking you is faith. Walking with God and demanding that he tell you where He is taking you is sight.’

“For we walk by faith and not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV

We cannot ask, what do you want me to learn if we cannot surrender to God first. If we still blame others, think we are always right,  remain stuck in our own stuff, there is no way we can hear God. There is too much white noise. White noise is noise containing too many frequencies with equal intensities.

The white noise is the selfish, fleshly you, the faithless you. The whiner crying why me! The person with the attitude confronting God. This may be an ‘ah-ha’ moment for some. When we are in this place, our faith is not authentic. It is solid when things are going well, and we are happy with God, but when things go wrong, we tend to blame God, our faith wanes. Our self-righteous selves question the creator of the universe, our God who created us, knew us before we knew ourselves, has a plan for us, loves us, is devoted to us, cares for us, and protects us.

Jesus said to the disciples, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?  Matthew 8:26 KJV

Surrender

Surrendering requires faith. When we surrender, we hand our lives over to God. We say, we will walk with you into the unknown, and will faint not. I read on FaceBook of all places – ‘Walking with God and not seeing where He is taking us is faith. Walking with God and demanding that he tell us where He is taking us is sight.’

Surrendering and living faith-filled life sounds easy, but if your fleshly self is a controller, is always right, strong-willed, and is comfortable mapping paths for themselves and others, it is not easy to hand the steering wheel over to God or anyone else. Surrendering is choosing dependence in, and obedience to, God and God alone. Our flesh fights dependence and obedience. They come in tandem, both are necessary factors required when we fully surrender to God our Father.

Back to the initial question – What is God telling you to do?

*He is telling you/us to surrender to Him, not to ask questions or reinterpret what He said to us – we must surrender all.
*He is telling you/us to follow Him, respond, yes God and Amen.
*He is telling you/us to be dependent and know He is God and created our life plan.
*He is telling you/us to remain obedient, even in the darkest hours. He will never leave us or forsake us.
*He is telling you/us to be quiet, know He is God and listen to His quiet voice directing our paths.
*He is telling you/us to love Him and trust Him with our lives.

When we surrender –
*We will be free,
*We will have real faith,
*We will be delivered, and God will lead us to our salvation.